As a first-time home buyer, you’ve got a lot of decisions to make. Some are short-term choices you can easily rethink in the future. Other matters, like the condition of the existing HVAC system, raise issues you might be forced to live with for some time. Here are a few mistakes a first-time home buyer might make if heating and cooling systems aren’t carefully considered before the sale:
- Do you know how old it is? Air conditioners typically last about 12 years and gas-fired furnaces up to 15. If either side of the system is approaching the end of its expected service life, you need to plan for a substantial expense in the near future. At some point, investing in major repairs is no longer cost-effective and upgrading to a new unit will be the advisable recourse. Ask the present owners for paperwork such as warranty documents that show the date of installation or check the model/serial numbers with the manufacturer.
- Are maintenance records up to date? Air conditioners and furnaces require annual maintenance by a qualified professional to optimize performance, efficiency, and service life. If you don’t have a paper trail proving that the system has been properly serviced, you may be facing high operating costs and repair bills due to neglect.
- Is the warranty valid? Some HVAC warranties are automatically canceled when the house changes ownership. In other cases, the warranty can be transferred to new owners, but the transfer must occur within a very short specified time period after the sale. To protect your investment, you may need to investigate aftermarket warranties.
- Has the system had an HVAC inspection? A basic pre-sale home inspection only verifies that the A/C and furnace turn on properly. This doesn’t tell you anything about the system’s true condition in terms of energy efficiency, future reliability, and safety. A full inspection by a qualified HVAC contractor is necessary to evaluate the status of all components and make a fully informed buying decision.
The professionals at Arpi’s Industries offer expert advice and services to the first-time home buyer facing questions about HVAC systems.
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